I was just reading this post from the Legal Productivity blog (one of my favorites) about great (and free) image editing tools to be found online. I am a novice Photoshop user and I don’t have Photoshop at home so I will be checking out the tools they suggest. It reminds me though that I find myself telling friends, family, and students I work with about 3 sites for finding images online that are freely available to use.
First, some information that I am sure you know already. Just because an image is online doesn’t mean that anyone can copy and paste it and use it at will. I am sure you know about a leetle thing called copyright. However, anyone who creates an image can use Creative Commons to give their images a variety of licensing attributes that allow others to re-use them in a variety of ways, with some caveats.
The first site I usually check is Microsoft Office. It doesn’t require me to know anything about Creative Commons or licensing AND it doesn’t have just cheesy Clip Art. They just let others use the images there freely (thank you for this!). Personally, I use this almost exclusively for photos. I put my search term in and click on the photo box to limit to photos. Each image has a set of keywords applied to it, so you can find other terms to search.
The second site I check is Google Images.The link here is to the Advanced Search where you can limit by usage rights. I don’t use images commercially, so I usually just change the limit to ‘free to use or share.’
And lastly, I sometimes find good images in Flickr. Again, I use the Advanced Search and I limit to Creative Commons licensed content.
Have fun making your future projects more visually appealing!